On the steps of what may be their new offices, three Victorians announced their candidacy for the upcoming municipal election. The eco-trio are representing Together Victoria, a grassroots organization which is trying to unite the progressive left. “We all have shared values, we all want to make this city more affordable, more inclusive and build a thriving, resilient city,” said candidate Laurel Collins. But, as much as the candidates have shared values, they all come from very different backgrounds. “I fled from the civil war in Somalia when I was 8 years old,” said second candidate Sharmarke Dubow. “Now I’m a Canadian citizen. One of the reasons I’m running is to give the people in Victoria the dignity I was shown.” For Sarah Potts, what drove her is a different story. “I myself am a single parent, I’m a renter, I’m a young professional, and I want to build a home here in Victoria, but right now that doesn’t seem like something that’s possible,” said Potts. “But, I do think we have enormous powers on city council to address the housing affordability crisis.”The third candidate, Laurel Collins, is a sociology instructor at the University of Victoria. Collins says she’s driven by what she’s seen and studied for years. “We are in an affordability, a rental, and a housing crisis and we need courageous policies to address this,” said Collins. The topic of housing affordability was also a main issue for those attending the event. “We need to have an idea of affordability based on people, not on what developers define is affordable,” said local concerned Victorian Bradley Clements. “I do worry about some seniors who are on very limited income, and I wonder how they’re going to continue to survive,” said local nurse Brenda Kelly. Meanwhile, the prospect of change has candidates optimistic. “I feel like there’s excitement building here,” said Potts. “People are ready for change, they’re ready to act together, they’re ready for something better for Victoria, and I’m excited to be a part of it.” Municipal elections are set to take place in October, with other organizations expected to put forward their candidates in the near future.